Taoiseach trips up adding final piece to campaign
Enda Kenny almost comes a cropper under the gaze of lurking assassin Katherine Zappone
It was Senator Katherine Zappone, monitoring proceedings. “She looks like an assassin,” joked the journalists as she stood, motionless, observing the daft scene.
Surrounded by TDs and handlers and media, the Taoiseach took possession of his jigsaw piece and beetled towards his giant prop.
Just as some of us were wondering if it was wise to risk confusion by making Enda pose with a cardboard cutout, the Taoiseach tripped on the low rail around the grass and almost came a cropper.
A senior aide rushed to steady him and he tripped too.
Thankfully, loud quacking from the pond disguised the laughter.
Saving the presence of the innocent water fowl, Enda proceeded to explain why
he thinks the Seanad is a
Speaking “as the longest-serving person in the House”, he said he has seen “bits and pieces” of Seanad reform introduced over the years, some of which worked and some which did not.
He believes the Seanad is beyond reform and favours “restoring accountability” to the universally elected Dáil deputies.
But the people will decide.
If they decide to get rid, how will he deal with all those “cranky senators” who will haunt Leinster House for another two years, sulking?
“Ah sure, you have cranky deputies too. All politics is about cranky people.”
As for the hotly disputed assertion that abolishing the Seanad will save €20 million, Enda upped the ante by pointing out that An Bord Snip Nua – a Fianna Fáil creation – concluded that ditching it would save the State more than €24 million.
Democracy Matters argue this is not true. Having been tipped the wink by Katherine Zappone – their spy under the trees in St Stephen’s Green – they made sure they had the media’s undivided attention. Whereupon they rolled out their giant prop in the form of historian Diarmaid Ferriter, who warned spoke strongly against abolition.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams was next in the queue. He came out on the plinth after lunch to call for a Yes vote and urged all republicans to turn out and end the “elitist and undemocratic” Upper House.
Bringing up the rear late in the afternoon, in a most refined fashion, were the “Lawyers for Reform” with former AG and Labour adviser John Rogers leading their call to hang on to the Seanad.
Fianna Fáil decided to keep their powder dry. Micheál Martin and his troops will be outside the gates of Leinster House this morning to make their final appeal to keep the place open for business.
As of yet, there is no word of poster boys or props, giant or otherwise.
However, we hear that in deepest Castlepollard, Donie Cassidy is still hoping for a call-up. Failing that, there is always Terry Leyden.